Coronavirus: All Ford, GM factories in North America to close over COVID-19

Ford and General Motors are confirming that they will temporarily close all of their North American factories due to the coronavirus threat.

Fiat Chrysler will do the same, according to two people briefed on the matter Wednesday.

Ford said its plants will shut down after Thursday evening shifts, through March 30, while GM said it will begin a “systematic orderly suspension” of production through at least March 30. Operations will be evaluated weekly after that.

Ford makes automobiles in Canada at a plant in Oakville, Ont.

GM closed its Canadian vehicle manufacturing plant in Oshawa, Ont., late last year but is still making automobiles at its CAMI Assembly complex in Ingersoll, Ont. and builds engines and front-wheel drive transmissions in St. Catharines, Ont.

GM Canada spokesperson Jennifer Wright said the company is evaluating manufacturing operation schedules and that details for each plant were still being determined.

Fiat Chrysler makes vehicles in Canada at Brampton and Windsor, Ont.

Messages were left seeking comment from Fiat Chrysler. The people speaking about the closures didn’t want to be identified because formal announcements had not yet been made.

“We have been taking extraordinary precautions around the world to keep our plant environments safe, and recent developments in North America make it clear this is the right thing to do now,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in a statement.

Ford said in its statement that it will work with leaders of the United Auto Workers union in the coming weeks on plans to restart factories, as well as exploring more procedures to prevent the virus from spreading. The union has been pushing for factories to close because workers are fearful of coming into contact with the virus.

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